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English: An icon from the Crystal icon theme. Nederlands: Een icoontje van het Crystal icon thema (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Property taxes are based on the assessed value of your property recorded by your local government’s tax records office. The local property tax assessor can determine property value using various methods such as if a certain neighborhood becomes a popular place to live or if market pressures, such as inflation, have influenced property values.

In recent years, several events have decidedly driven down the value of properties in many markets. Your focus, as a property tax payer, must be in knowing the current value of your property in today’s market. Your property tax must reflect the current property market and be appraised at a similar value in comparison with other comparable properties in the same area.When you receive a notice of an assessed valuation of your property, and you do not feel it represents its current market value you can, within a specified timeline, dispute the validity of your property tax assessment. (This site  is an excellent resource on the subject).The assessor will not lower the property tax assessment unless you have thoroughly researched the key indicators and are prepared to defend your position that the assessed tax value was based on incorrect assumptions or data. Try here for more information.

To challenge your property tax assessment you must:

● Ensure that the assessment report correctly lists the square footage of your home and the size of you lot.

● Compare the appraised value of similar properties in your neighborhood to the appraised value of your property

● Obtain the selling price (market value comparisons) on at least three to five homes that recently sold in your neighborhood.

After you have obtained and verified the above information and have determined the tax assessment of your property is incorrect, then prepare this information and submit your petition to challenge the assessment.

The assessor’s office will then review your submitted petition and usually provide a written decision to you within a few weeks. If you still disagree with the assessor’s decision, you can continue to appeal, even into the judicial court system.